Pizza remains one of the world’s most popular foods, and rightly so. But there is much mediocrity, and London has its fair share of lacklustre pies.
This guide will help you avoid the middling, and the downright terrible. Here are billowing Neapolitan options with silky tomato bases and fine fior di latte; New York-inspired, shareable bad boys laden with spicy toppings; and thin-and-crispy Roman-style pizzas that will aid even the cruellest of hangovers. All together now: it’s slice to see you, to see you slice.
L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Flying in to Baker Street from Naples, this pizzeria — which, incidentally, was featured in Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts — has been described as the best in the world, never mind London. The London branches are less scruffy (and far more expensive) than the Naples original, and the pizzas are slightly different, too — the bases are thicker for a start. That said, the full-flavoured tomato base, a signature, is present and correct, and there’s no doubting this is among the finest pizza in the capital.
W1, NW1, anticapizzeriadamichele.co.uk
50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo
Don't be fooled by the red and black Dennis the Menace-style décor — this place is a joy. Ingredients are rich and authentic — the mozzarella is flown in from Campania — and the pizzas come with generous helpings of tomato sauce, ideal for mopping up with leftover crust. This is pizza at its purest, though not just for the purists. Read the review here.
7 Northumberland Ave, WC2N 5BY, cirosalvo.it
081 is one of London’s finest Neapolitan pizzerias. It was established in 2021 by the Naples-born Andrea Asciuti, one of the founders of the cult Streatham pizza shop Bravi Regazzi, which features on this list below. In January, Asciuti secured a permanent site in Peckham after two years of residencies and pop-ups. It proved to be welcome news: at 081, pizzas are refined but fun, taking the best of Naples and transporting it happily, without too much fuss or nonsense, to one of the capital’s true culinary hotspots.
66 Peckham Rye, SE15 4JR, 081pizzeria.com
With restaurants in different corners of London, brothers James and Thom Eliot have come a long way since their days as street food traders. The Neapolitan-style pizzas here are soft and doughy with a plumped-up crust and a rich tomato base — try the ‘nduja variety if you’re feeling spicy.
Various locations, pizzapilgrims.co.uk
Pizza da Valter
Pizza da Valter is, by all accounts, what some might call a “hidden gem”. Many haven’t heard of it. This ought to be rectified, and quickly, because Pizza da Valter is the best of neighbourhood dining: unassuming, affordable; brimming with charming staff and good food. The restaurant sits opposite Wandsworth Common and lends itself to being a takeaway spot. Order inside and enjoy it contented by the pond with the ducks.
7 Bellevue Road, SW17 7EG, pizzadavalter.co.uk
More often than not, it is a London restaurant group that expands north, but with Rudy’s, it’s the other way round. London — Soho, more specifically — has benefited from the pizzeria’s arrival (Spitalfields will do too, come March). The Manchester-born restaurant is smart, casual, and accessible, turning out well-made and considered Neapolitan-style pizzas in a buzzing space on Wardour Street. Expect to see more of them.
80 Wardour Street, W1F 0TF rudyspizza.co.uk
Berbere started life in Bologna, Italy, and has expanded across the north of the country with fervour. In 2017, Matteo and Salvatore, two brothers from Calabria in the south, opened their first London outpost, then known as Radio Alice. The pair aligned the name of the restaurant group post-pandemic. Berbere isn’t Neapolitan, isn’t Roman, isn’t really anything; it’s a style of pizza unto itself, arguably most similar to the new types coming out of California: chewy sourdough made with whole grains, baked and loaded with all manner of exceptional Italian ingredients.
67 Venn Street, SW4 0BD, berberepizzeria.co.uk
Yard Sale Pizza
Yard Sale Pizza started out how you might expect — in a yard. Founder Johnnie Tate began his dough-spinning journey cooking pies in a pizza oven in his Hackney back garden, but now the brand boasts multiple sites across London and has collaborated with the likes of foodie rapper Loyle Carner and, err, Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin. The proof of their success is in the pie: its Holy Pepperoni is topped with two types of pepperoni and nduja sausage, while more contemporary options include the TSB, topped with tenderstem broccoli, manchego and pine nuts.
Various locations, yardsalepizza.com
Sodo Pizza Caféâ
In case you were wondering about the name, Sodo stands for sourdough. And that’s something they take pretty seriously here. All the pizza dough is fermented for 48 hours and then baked at over 450°C so that its light and airy with plenty of that sourdough ‘tang’. With such great bases it makes sense to keep toppings simple, but special kudos must go to the brilliantly-named Jon Bon Chovy topped with anchovies, olives, capers, chilli and fresh parsley.
Various locations, sodopizza.co.uk
Pizzas that Neapolitans would hold dear to their hearts are served at this small Streatham spot, which is all about the base. Light and air-filled, it’s crisp on the outside but chewy and moist within. Simple but good quality toppings complete the package. One worth travelling to.
2a Sunnyhill Road, SW16 2UH, @braviragazzipizzeria
Pizzeria Pellone, nestled between Clapham Junction and Battersea, was born in Naples in 1972. Three generations on, and Antonio Pellone is carving out something of an institution in South London, opening the first branch outside Italy and crafting delicate, careful pizzas using seasonal ingredients alongside quality Italian produce. It is a true connection between London and Naples, and at Pellone, chefs use caputo flour, fine buffalo mozzerella, divella tomatoes, and excellent cured meats all imported from their homeland.
42 Lavender Hill, SW11 5RL, pizzeriapellonelondon.co.uk
Very much the pizzeria of the moment — as of late 2024, early ‘24 — Crisp W6 is a brand built on social media, but has the product to back up the hype. Here, instead of serving Neapolitan pies, the popular style of the past decade, Crisp W6 is more Roman, with thin, crispy crusts and plenty of parmesan. Expect queues, but to join one might be worth your while: the pizzas are excellent and the views by the river in Hammersmith a delight.
25 Crisp Road, The Chancellors, W6 9RL, @crisppizzaw6
New York-style slices from the company that own Angus Steakhouse? Not the most enticing premise. What does a budget(ish) steakhouse group know about pizza? Quite a lot, as it turns out, because Alley Cats sings. Begin with pork and beef meatballs in a typical “red sauce” — the type they bathe in over the pond — and then get the vodka pizza, a doughy riff on one of London’s most in-favour dishes.
22 Paddington Street, W1U 5QY, alleycatspizza.co.uk
Napoli on the Road
West London is having a bit of a pizza renaissance. In Chiswick, and now Richmond, is Napoli on the Road, every bit a Neapolitan joint where the crusts are chewy and blistered and the tomato sauce sweet. The brand was conceived by Italian man Michele Pascarella, who started out trundling about in his Ape Piaggio, selling pizzas to whomever was hungry. Their popularity preceded his bricks and mortar sites, which have proven popular in themselves.
9A Devonshire Road, Chiswick, W4 2EU, napoliontheroad.co.uk
The Bona boys have been crafting sourdough pizza in Forest Hill since 2015. The brand has never really reached prime time because, well, it’s deep south east, but that doesn’t mean the pizza isn’t top tier: “Slightly chewy and lightly charred”. Much like the big names, Bona uses fine ingredients sourced in Italy, as well as local produce in the UK. Also a good spot for a decent parmigiana.
25 Dartmouth Road, SE23 3HN, bonapizzeria.co.uk
No two items could be more perfectly suited to each other than beer and pizza — and few places are as geared up for the pair of them as Crate is. As well as making its own beer on-site it serves crispy, thin-base pizzas that are worthy of much more than just soaking up your drinks. Try the Middle Eastern lamb variety, topped with spicy mince, alongside more traditional numbers.
The White Building, E9 5EN, cratebrewery.com
Crust-leavers, get yourself to Voodoo Rays. This Dalston-originating pizza joint serves its pizza by-the-slice from massive 22-inch New York-style pies — do the maths and that means less crust, more topping. And what toppings they are: fior di latte mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes are used across the board and varieties include both Italian classic and the likes of the very English Porky’s, made with Cumberland sausage, Stilton, red onion and parsley.
E8, SE15, voodoorays.com
There's a staggering number of Franco Manca branches throughout the capital, from Soho to Southfields and Covent Garden to Chiswick. Despite its size, the slightly sour, salty chewy Neapolitan base which made such an impression at the original Brixton Market branch remains, as do the simple but well-sourced toppings. The original Brixton branch has moved from its original site to one on Atlantic Road, but remains the best.
Various locations, francomanca.co.uk
The pizzas here are as luxurious as the restaurant’s famously flamboyant surroundings. Delicious metre-long 'zas arrive from the open kitchen’s twin rotary oven, placed on tables under floral ceilings and surrounded by walls stacked with 20,000 bottles. The crusts are chewy and light, the toppings are liberally applied and the sauces are near perfect. The pizzas at Gloria, Circolo’s sister restaurant, are just as good too. It may well be the only dish the Big Mamma group really nail.
40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX, bigmammagroup.com
The proliferation of Neapolitan pizzerias in London is real. After PizzaExpress brought decent Roman-style pies to the capital, it was a natural evolution, steered in part by Franco Manca. Today, there are New York style pizzas too, but limited options when it comes to those born in Chicago and Detroit. In Soho, diners will soon find Japes, a Chicago-style pizzeria serving deep dish classics — as yet, it is unproven. In Spitalfields is Detroit Pizza, bringing rectangular dishes filled to the brim with meat and cheese.
75 Commercial Street, E1 6BD, detroitpizzalondon.com
Made of Dough
At Made of Dough, it’s all about that crust — generously charred and tangy as heck, its arguably the star of the show. Heading into the centre, be sure that truffle is somewhere on your order— on the white pizza, both mozzarella and parmesan are topped with white alba truffle oil and portobello mushrooms, with the option to add a mind-boggling portion of burratina on top. Starting life as a residency at Pop Brixton, the Made of Dough team now has permanent spots in Peckham and Shoreditch.
SE15, E1, madeofdough.co.uk
This Hackney Central restaurant churns out superlative crisp-based pizzas from its shiny mirror-clad oven, which also acts as a focal point in the industrial-style space. British-made charcuterie is another high-point, so why not combine the two – try a pizza topped with anise pepperoni, mozzarella and rocket.
197-205 Richmond Road, E8 3NJ; lardo.co.uk
This casual pizzeria is buzzy, fast and impressively cheap — plus the pizzas are the real deal. They’re made in the Roman style, with bases that are thin and crispy rather than chewy, and come in an abundance of varieties. Good news for coeliacs — just ask for gluten-free bases.
Various locations, pizzaunion.com
If authentic Neapolitan pizza is your thing, then you’ll struggle to find a better spot than Santa Maria this side of an EasyJet flight. It’s run by Neapolitans Angelo and Pasquale who are so fanatical about their pizza that they’ve been known to turn away those who just order salad — but why would you do that? Stretchy pizza bases are pleasingly chewy and laden with fine Italian produce. Try the Santa Bufalina topped with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil – a fine example of less is more. Sister site Sacro Cuore in Kensal Green is just as good.
Various locations, santamariapizzeria
London’s quest for the authentic is often taxing beyond compare. If there is a truly authentic Neapolitan experience to be found here, Quartieri would be in with a shout. On Kilburn High Road are pizzas and unusual wines in a casual, energetic spot, using produce shipped from Italy on a weekly basis.
300 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2DB, quartieri.co.uk
A hefty proportion of the clientele always seems to be Italian at this old-school Clerkenwell local, and that’s got to be a good sign. The signature order is pizza by the metre, made with varying toppings along the stretch — you might want to bring a couple of friends to help polish it off though. For something different try the i panuozzi, a ‘pizza sandwich’ that has the same toppings but double the dough.
59-61 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QL, santorerestaurant.london
Zia Lucia knows its dough. The growing pizza group has four different doughs on its menu — a traditional, a wholemeal, a vegetable charcoal and one made with gluten-free flour. Toppings are Italian in essence, with a few tantalisingly unusual variations along the way: the Andrea Pirlo is topped with gorgonzola, apple, truffle and olive sauce, while the Green Vegana is spread with spicy broccoli cream and sundried tomatoes.
Various locations, zialucia.com